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Posted 29.01.15

Game Arts students get involved with Global Game Jam

By Sarah Packer

The Last Stand, one of the games made by our BA (Hons) Game Arts students

Students from our BA (Hons) Game Arts programme last week took part in The Global Game Jam (GGJ) – the world’s largest game jam event taking place around the world at various locations.

The weekend stirs a global creative buzz in games, while at the same time exploring the process of development, be it programming, iterative design, narrative exploration or artistic expression.

All sites worldwide are challenged to make games based on a theme, with games to be completed in 48hrs. In January 2014, there were 488 locations in 72 countries that created over 4000 games in one weekend! Students getting involved from the programme were Viki Johnson, Oliver Curtis (Plymouth College of Art alumni), Matteo Roberts, Mark Ashbourne, David Bradd, Katherine Chisholm, Saline Rawles, Jasmine Simon and Jack Challoner.

"I’m really glad that I took part in the Global Game Jam, it was a great opportunity to try out some new skills and work with new people, both from college and the university," says Viki Johnson, a student on our MA programme.

BA (Hons) Game Arts student, Matteo Roberts, described the Global Game Jam as, "a fantastic experience, and a great opportunity to meet and network with new people, as well as challenge myself by going out of my comfort zone and having to work to a tight deadline.

“It really helped me realize that building and testing games is something that can be done quickly and easily, and is not a long drawn out process, also I became more comfortable working with a team and had a lot fun.

“All in all this was a fantastic learning experience and I can't wait until next years."

The jam is known for helping foster new friendships, increase confidence and opportunities within the community.

"It's safe to say we couldn't have taken part in such an event without the help of our lecturers here at college. We used so many skills to achieve our goal, and picked up some new ones during the process," says Dave Bradd BA (Hons) Game Arts student. 

People are invited to explore new technology tools, trying on new roles in development and testing their skills to do something that requires them to design, develop create, test and make a new game in the time span of 48 hours.

BA (Hons) Game Arts student, Dave Bradd told us a bit about his experience at the Global Game Jam 2015,

“On Friday 23rd January, me and a few classmates took part in the Global Games Jam. A global event where participants endeavor to make a video game in 48 hours. A tough sounding task to undertake, but I went in excited and ready for the challenge.

“After stocking up on Haribo, chocolate, sausage rolls, and a nasty Lucozade drink, I set up near my classmates. There were a few familiar faces in the room, and others I would get to know over the next 48 hours. The room was filled with laptops, desktops, tablets, and various other gaming peripherals.

“Once my PC was up and running, we were finally ready to know the theme for this years Jam....."What do we do next?". That, it turns out, was both the theme and what was running through my head.

“Our team, made up of 3 modelers, 2 coders, 1 concept artist, and 1 sound technician, retired to a quieter room to discuss our ideas for the game. Straight away we started bouncing ideas off each other. The team gelled instantly. We hit on our concept after a short while and got to work.

“A few hours sleep later I returned to find the room in a different state. The smell of Monster energy drinks. The tired faces illuminated by monitors. The bodies under the tables in sleeping bags.

“The Jam had already begun to take its toll and it was only Saturday morning. Despite all this, the atmosphere remained positive throughout.

“After 48 hours, the deadline came. We did it! We made a game!

“To say I was happy would be an understatement. Exhausted, relieved, but so proud of myself and the rest of the team.The feeling of achievement was immense.

“It's safe to say we couldn't have taken part in such an event without the help of our lecturers here at college. We used so many skills to achieve our goal, and picked up some new ones during the process.

“All the modelling and texturing was great practice, but learning to work in a team while under the pressure of such a limited time frame was invaluable. Making new friends and connections was another great benefit of taking part in such an event.

“Can't wait for the next one. Roll on next year."